Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 November 2020:
A Parliamentary Bill entitled – ‘the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion Bill’, received its second reading in parliament this week.
Presenting the Bill to parliamentarians, Government Chief Minister – Dr. David John Francis said that the government is seeking laws to establish an Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion that will promote peace and development in the country.
Speaking for the main opposition – the All People’s Congress (APC) party, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo – MP said although his party did not take part in the Bintumani 3 conference that agreed the formation of a peace commission, they will not seek to undermine the legislation process.
He told MPs that the commission could pave the way for political cohesion and nation building, by bringing the diverse groups of Sierra Leoneans together. He reaffirmed his party’s commitment to supporting the Chief Minister to ensure the Bill becomes law.
Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella – parliamentary leader of the National Ground Coalition (NGC) party, commended the Chief Minister for his work in implementing the recommendation of the Bintumani 3 conference and making it a reality.
He said that peace and development cannot work without respect for basic human rights. But he warned that for the commission to be a success, it must be owned by all political parties, as he called for gender, ethnic and geographical representation in the management of the commission. He proposed the formation of an ethnic monitoring and audit unit within the commission.
Leader of the APC party in parliament – Chernor Manju Bah MP, said he believes in the leadership of the Chief Minister in ensuring a fair and balanced approach to establishing the commission, once the Bill becomes law.
“The Chief Minister has brought before us one of the finest Bills that reflects the current needs of our country,” he told MPs.
Responding to the issues raised by MPs, the chief minister – Dr. David John Francis thanked the parliamentary leadership for demonstrating patriotism in discussing the Bill. He said that the government of President Bio will continue to promote political inclusiveness for the good of every Sierra Leonean.
He also assured MPs that once established the commission will be independent and inclusive.
Before committing the Bill to the parliamentary committee, the leader of Government Business – Mathew Nyuma MP said that the government of President Bio has demonstrated on several occasions its commitment to developing the country.
He said that efforts to transform the lives of the ordinary people must not be politicized, and called on MPs to conduct proper due diligence and arrive at decisions based on the interest of the nation, rather than narrow party political interests.
The Bill is expected to be brought back from Committee to the full House for final debate and voting to become law, in the next few weeks.